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Little Haiti Brooklyn leaders share progress, plans, amid affordability challenges

By Sam Bojarski

For Aliette Beldor, who owned the former Alouette Beauty Salon on Nostrand Avenue, the creation of the Little Haiti Cultural and Business District brought recognition to Haitian community members like her. 

But while she supports the initiative for this reason, the cost of doing business in the neighborhood continues to increase. 

“All the business owners in this neighborhood suffer because of the rent,” she said. 

It’s been just over two years since New York City council passed a resolution designating a portion of central Brooklyn in Flatbush as Little Haiti. Multiple Haitian-American elected officials and community leaders have supported the initiative, designed to promote a sense of belonging, facilitate economic development and tourism, as well as to preserve and celebrate the numerous Haitian institutions in the area. But plans for Little Haiti have been slow to get off the ground, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic trends also continue to threaten the affordability of the neighborhood, for some Haitian residents and business owners. 

Little Haiti Caribbean Restaurant on Church Avenue. Photo by Sam Bojarski


 

District 42 Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and then-Councilmember Jumaane Williams were key early supporters who led the effort to designate Little Haiti in 2018. Farah Louis, who now represents Council District 45, currently supports Little Haiti BK. 

The Little Haiti district extends roughly from Parkside Avenue to Avenue H, and from East 16th Street to Brooklyn Avenue.

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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski has been covering Haiti and its diaspora for The Haitian Times since 2018. He is currently covering New York's Haitian community as a Report for America corps member.
Sam Bojarski
Jul. 13, 2020